‘Schools Of The Past’ Preston, District #6 - Turner Street
Published: February 9th, 2017
By: Patricia F. Scott

Independent Registered Historian

The historical information for the above district is to say “scant to none.” Of all the previous townships that “Schools” have been the subject of, the almost complete lack of information relevant to Preston, has proven to be the most difficult. The research conducted by this writer previously, at the Guernsey Library History Room, the previous research at the County Historian’s office, the Chenango County Clerk’s Office revealed little or no historical information. The district’s lines gave the information that at times the districts were joint, example Dist. #17 – Norwich/Preston and in the documentation of the Oxford districts, many of the parents actually living in the Township of Preston, their children were sent to Oxford, due to the location of the parents property line. A virtual nightmare for all concerned! The Preston historian, Peter V.R. Mason did a research of the Town Board meeting minutes and this information that he documented and forwarded has been of great assistance in the preparation of these articles.

Relying on this town board meeting minutes on February 17, 1816, School Agents John Noyes/James Sowle and School Commissioners Samuel Noyes/Samuel Seymore was documented that “it is a note of the Town that we rose no more money than to entitle us to school funds.” Additionally documented “Notice that several inspectors of the common schools [aka today as public schools] for this town the year issuing shall on or before the 25th of October next give public notice by putting up advertisements in as least six of the most public places in the town that they will meet at a given day and place to be note said advertisement for the purpose of examine Candidates for the keeping school and such notes shall be put up at least 20 days before such meeting so noted and that all said inspectors shall be present at the meeting.” ‘Notice that the Several Schools Shall be visited by the inspectors not more than 12 days after the Commencement of each School.”

Continuing previously, on May 31, 1813 John Noyes, Joseph Truman and Sylvanus Moor, school committee overseers, the following was adopted “District Number 6 beginning at the southwest corner of Daniel Strong’s land thence south on the east line of the [this was a blank space] of township to the southwest corner of Richards land; thence east to the east line of the Butler Range to the south line of Daniel Strong’s land; thence west to the fore mentioned bound.”

For all residents who are familiar with the Turner Street to the left from Route !2 this schoolhouse, which later burned, it located approximately 3 miles from Route 12 on the right side going up the hill where it intersects with the Preston Center Road. The burned ruins may be viewed and this writer will give The Evening Sun a photo of the ruins, however, it is the discretion of the paper whether or not to use it.

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Research at the County Clerk’s office has failed to reveal a deed recorded for the site of this school, which is not too unusual. Numerous times the landowners donated the land for a school site, perhaps it was written on a slip of paper, which has probably disappeared by now. Research on a different subject, by this writer, revealed, in 1802 land was given for a different purpose. No deed, conversation with the town historian and related, just a slip of paper that land was donated. However, in future years, new owners more or less wanted a small sum of money for this previously donated land. Interesting to say the least!

The documentation of teachers/trustees/town clerks is not available however a list of the parents/guardians is listed below as documentation of the residents of Dist. #6 from 1870-1908.

Adelbert & Martin Adams – John & Van Anderson – Wilson Bartle – Edward C., Edward L. and Margette Clark – John M. Crumb – Daniel, Edward and Mrs. Johannah Downey – Ansel & Lorin Eggleston – James Ganley – John A. & William F. Gould – Ralph Hadlock – James Herrick – Charles Howard – Michael & Thomas Lanzy – Hiram Lewis – Theron Lloyd – George Maol – Bertha Merritt – Ed. Parks – John & Michael Scanlon- Lena Sergent – Ambrose Shoefelt- Wm. Smith – Michael Sullivan – John & Michael & Thomas Tansey – Mrs. J.S. 7 Matilda Tracy – F., George H., Henry G., Lyman, and Simeon Turner, Adelbert Utter, C. G., George H., M. O., and Roger Wells an Geo. Yeomans. These many residents of District #6 would send a total of 293 scholars to this early school of the past. And finally in closing, next week will be Dist. #7 – the Stafford district and closing with “to be continued.”